Guest Writer Slot

This week’s guest writer is the very talented poet Gordon Simmonds. I’ve featured a number of his moving poems in this slot before. If you haven’t read them please do: Everybody Dies, When I am Gone, Paschaendaele, Joe’s War  and The Piper in the Graveyard   

Here’s a little bit about him, in his own words:

“My name is Gordon Simmonds born and raised in Essex, England. I left school aged 15 and joined the British Army where I discovered early on that I was a good scholar but a bad soldier. I left the Army nine years later and became what I now call an industrial mercenary – in fact I’ve never had a proper job since, and have worked in, and travelled the Middle East as well as my adopted Lincolnshire.

“I would describe myself as a shy extrovert. If you see me on the street I’m likely to be wearing a cowboy hat and boots, or a Scottish kilt and playing the bagpipes. I love to race – either bikes or karts and I once had some talent as a fencer where my hard, aggressive style achieved some notable victories.

“As a writer and poet my work is severely limited by work and inclination. My first poem was broadcast on the BBC while I was still at school. My next poem wasn’t published until 34 years later.”

An Old Soldiers Thoughts.


Gordon Simmonds

Don’t talk to me of glory when the drums begin to roll,

Just remind me of the shot and shell that takes its deadly toll.

When, standing four square ‘gainst the lance,

Each man a frightened pawn of chance,

Who didn’t want to be there,

Who didn’t want to die.


Don’t talk to me of glory when the bugle starts to play,

Just count the cost of mothers sons at the ending of the day.

When, ten thousand men went o’er the top

Through wire and mud they wouldn’t stop.

They didn’t want to be there,

They didn’t want to die.


Don’t talk to me of glory when the pipes begin to skirl.

Just see the kilted soldier who would never wed his girl.

Through sea and sand he led the way.

The beach-head made that longest day.

He didn’t want to be there,

He didn’t want to die.


Yes, talk to me of glory when the battle honours fly,

For each one tells a story of men who didn’t want to die.

For some went home and others stayed

In God’s green earth their bodies laid.

They didn’t want to be there,

They didn’t want to die.


So when the Last Post echoes, on some November morn.

Remember those across the years who didn’t live to mourn.

Read faceless names engraved in stone

Of those who never made it home.

Though they had to be there,

Did they have to die?


If you’d like to see your work in my Guest Writer Spot, please contact me here or by e-mail: I accept stories, poems, articles – in fact, anything and everything. All you have to do is make sure your prose is no longer than 2000 words and your poems no more than 40 lines.




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14 Responses to Guest Writer Slot

  1. gjsimmonds says:

    Thanks again Esther. Thanks to you my anthology of these verses and more will be published on Kindle soon.

  2. Jane Risdon says:

    Wonderful, thanks for sharing and for the introduction to Gordon. Wishing him much success. 🙂

  3. AJ.Dixon says:

    Another beautiful, haunting poem from Gordon. I think he does a stirling job at evoking feelings of sorrow and injustice. Another amazing poem.

  4. Jocelyn Barker says:

    Hi, Esther!

    I find this poem very, very moving. I will read Gordon’s other poems now but I just wanted to respond to this one as I have only just opened your email and I am moved to write … Please pass my message to Gordon.

    Jocelyn Barker.

  5. Rajiv says:

    I thought Gordon’s poem was – is – magnificent

  6. Pingback: Guest Writer Spot | esthernewtonblog

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